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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Keegan

‘Lockdown’ Brown says KU looks all sped up

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Any prediction as to which potential star will develop into the Most Valuable Player on the 2011 Kansas University football team is no easy task.

The MVP likely but won’t necessarily come from the pool of the following dozen, listed in alphabetical order: wide receiver D.J. Beshears, tight end Tim Biere, cornerback Greg Brown, center Jeremiah Hatch, inside linebacker Steven Johnson, safety Bradley McDougald, running back Darrian Miller, defensive end/outside linebacker Toben Opurum, receiver Daymond Patterson, running back James Sims, safety Keeston Terry, and inside linebacker Darius Willis.

As for the best nickname on the roster, that’s no contest.

Greg “Lockdown” Brown has that distinction locked down. A coach at powerhouse Cedar Hill High in Texas pinned the moniker on him his junior year in high school, when the team won the state title. As a KU starter the last five games of 2010, Brown started to show he had the potential to develop into that rare commodity: a lockdown cornerback. As a bonus, he loves to hit, as he proved with 10 tackles against Nebraska.

Lockdown Brown. Nice ring to it.

“It’s a good sound,” Brown agreed. “I like it. I try to go by it, and if I try to go by it, I have to live up to it. It can’t be just all talk.”

Aside from speed and agility, confidence ranks as a cornerback’s most vital asset. By not running from such an aggressive nickname, Brown has set high expectations for himself. He embraces the challenge of taking on the long, strong, fleet receivers that come his way every week in the Big 12. Cornerbacks can’t play scared, can’t let giving up one big play shake them in a way that leads to a confidence crisis.

A productive special-teams player as well, Brown quickly is mentioned in any conversation about the team’s fastest players. He knows speed when he sees it and insists that all this talk about a faster team than a year ago has substance.

“The recruiting class that came in, they can run,” Brown said. “And I see a lot more quickness out of our defense, the linebacker corps, the secondary, even the D-line is running to the football. Much faster defense this year.”

Specifically, who looks faster?

“Toben Opurum looks fast,” Brown said.

That makes sense. During a sophomore season packed with position changes, Opurum had to think a lot, which inevitably results in hesitating. Now that his defensive mind has advanced, his speed is showing.

“Steven Johnson and Darius Willis, our inside linebackers, give us more speed as a defense,” said Brown, a junior in his fourth year in the program. “You don’t really see middle linebackers moving fast. These guys are moving fast to the ball.”

Who else?

“We have the fastest linebacker corps since I’ve been here,” Brown said. “Tunde Bakare, he’s real fast. Huldon Tharp, when he comes in, he looks fast. Prinz Kande, he’s undersized, but he’s a fast linebacker.”

Lack of speed ranked as the No. 1 factor in last season’s blowout losses. It takes more than getting faster to turn a 3-9 team into a winner, but it’s a nice place to start.

Comments

100 3 years, 3 months ago

Speeeeeeeeeed!!!!!!!!!!!

Keep bringin' 'em in Coach Gill!!!!!!!!!!!!!

chezlog 3 years, 3 months ago

100, YOU are my favorite poster. I've been a Jayhawk fotball fan my whole life and I love to be positive about the upcoming season. You make it fun as I wait for the first kick off.

jhawkrulz 3 years, 3 months ago

He posts 1 of 3 comments each time.

Speed, recruit, and believe.

He needs to come up with some actual thoughts, instead of the same comments over and over again.

100 3 years, 3 months ago

Speeeeeeed!!!!!!!!!

Recruit!!!!!!!!!!

Believe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

fan4kufootball 3 years, 3 months ago

Play hard and play with passion guys! Can't wait for the games to begin!

ahpersecoachingexperience 3 years, 3 months ago

Those fast linebackers are a transfer from Buffalo and a late signee from Highland Community College. Excuse me if I'm a little skeptical about them competing at the big12 level.

troutsee 3 years, 3 months ago

Say something positive for a change, and your comments might be read more carefully and analytically. However, with the same old negativism in every comment, I tend to skip over your crap. Your attempts at humor is also very immature, as are most of your serious comments.

troutsee 3 years, 3 months ago

Also, the guy who won the Heisman last year, was a Juco transfer.

benward 3 years, 3 months ago

Worth noting that said Heisman winner and Juco transfer was also a highly touted recruit out of H.S. and played for Florida. So there's that.

jaymar74 3 years, 3 months ago

Boy, you're right. Gill and his staff should not be bringing in any new players from different sources. What the hell do they think they're doing.

Don Everett 3 years, 3 months ago

Mrs. Negative coming into the mix again.

Chris Bailey 3 years, 3 months ago

I'm still shocked Keegan has written two positive articles in a row about KU Football! WOW! Way to go TOM!

TheGiftedOne 3 years, 3 months ago

I want to be as positive as the next guy...but this team just won't be that good. They might be able to steal a bowl bid if they can take care of business but anyone who thinks they can content is in dreamland. Apherse is obviously trying to tick people off but he is right on the money. Im sure Willis will be a great player but this defense is straight up UNDERSIZED. That needs to change before we can contend. We start off Texas Tech, Oklahoma St., and Oklahoma in conference. Its not Gill's fault that this schedule is so brutal but people shouldn't get too excited for the wins this year. As always I want to see how everyone progresses because I'm a Jayhawk fan but this team will most likely start 2-4 (0-3)...just don't expect too much.

Randy Bombardier 3 years, 3 months ago

I beg your pardon. Ahperse is NOT right on the money. He continues to bash the Coaching staff and really does not see the direction we are going. I don't see that everyone is excited about this year. I don't see that from the vast majority of these posts. What I see is some confidence about the direction we are going, that people want to see this running game, that we look forward to closing the gap with our competition. That's what I see.

Ron Prichard 3 years, 3 months ago

So your idea of this team being any good is if they compete for the Big XII title this year? If that's the standard, then I think we will all be disappointed. But really, I don't think that's the standard for this year's team.

If this team steals a bowl bid, no one will be able to say this team wasn't good. No one expects the team to contend for the Big XII title this year. But if they went 6-6 which is the minimum they would need to be for a bowl game, that would mean there was serious improvement over last year. To be honest, if this team goes 5-7 or maybe even 4-8, I would still consider it a successful year as long as we were in most games in the second half. This team has a long way to go, but I do think it is on the right track.

TheGiftedOne 3 years, 3 months ago

Id be happy with a bowl bid of course compared to the last two season of crap football. But I will not feel guilt for having high expectations. These kids are gifted with free education, top of the line gear and facilities, and have had 2-3 years to get into competition ready shape. I know it will take awhile for the freshmen talent to develop and I will be patient in that regard. But the majority of this team has experience and have had multiple years to sculpt their bodies. Its not too much to ask for them to try to compete for a Big XII title. Why even play the games if you're not trying to win the conference? I just don't understand this "Well were good in basketball so who cares about the other sports" mindset that alot KU fans have. The athletic department makes too much money to get a free pass from me.

Ron Prichard 3 years, 3 months ago

I don't disagree with you on the mindset some people have that being good in basketball makes every other shortcoming okay. I want to win in football. I want KU to win in every sport. I'm just saying that coming off of last year, if we go 6-6, that would be absolutely amazing for this team, and I my expectations would be even higher for next year. That said, if this team went 5-7 and had a chance for a bowl late into the year, I think that would be great and I would be excited. Even if the team goes 4-8 but shows marked improvement, I will consider this season a success, but one that needs continued improvement. Like I said before, we have a long way to go, but I do like the direction that we appear to be headed. I, too, think that the goal should be a Big XII championship, but I am realistic enough to know that this year, that isn't a real possibility. Still, this team can be "successful" even if they don't win a Big XII title.

texashawk10 3 years, 3 months ago

A 2-1 start means that KU will have either A) beaten a team that won 11 games last year or B) won a road game against another BCS conference team (hopefully not both if they're 2-1). If KU can pull that off, then I would have to believe they are capable of beating a Texas Tech team that most people have finishing 6th or 7th in the Big 12 this season so if KU can start 2-1, I would give them a fair chance at starting 3-1 this season.

fan4kufootball 3 years, 3 months ago

Of course we like to win but winning is not as important as (at least in my opinion) as the guys and coaching staff just doing the very best they can, have fun and play with gutso! That is a winning team!

kycamp0 3 years, 3 months ago

Here's how I see the schedule shaping up:

Sept. 3 NcNeese State W Sept. 10 Northern Illinois W Sept. 17 at Georgia Tech L (possible revenge game but I think it'll be close) Sept. 24 Bye Week Oct. 1 Texas Tech W (I expect a win on Homecoming weekend) Oct. 8 at Oklahoma State L Oct. 15 Oklahoma L (it'll be awhile before we can compete with OU) Oct. 22 Kansas State W (I expect KU to avenge last year's blow out loss) Oct. 29 at Texas L (probably a loss but you never know) Nov. 5 at Iowa State L (KU probably loses against an improved team) Nov. 12 Baylor L (expecting a loss but this could be an upset) Nov. 19 at Texas A&M L Nov. 26 vs. Missouri L (you never know in a rivalry game)

So this would make us 4-8 and I would take it. If we can improve by one win a year, I would consider that a success but I will remain optomistic until I see the product on the field. I think the key games will be the first two because we will be expected to win those. The other key games are going to be Texas Tech, Kansas State,at Texas, at Iowa State, Baylor, and Missouri. If we can go 3-3 in those games and pull off a few upsets that would put us at 5-7 and I think that would an incredible accomplishment. Looking forward to game 1 though and hope we see a ball control offensive slow the other teams down and take them out of their game plan.

TheGiftedOne 3 years, 3 months ago

I just don't get how you see 4-8 as a successful season. I know record isn't everything...the eye test will say alot about this group. (Case in point, 2010 KC Royals) But if your prediction comes true KU football will be 11-25 (4-23) in the last three seasons. I mean I'd love to be as optimistic as the next guy but those results are just terrible. Seriously, if your prediction comes true KU will officially be back to being the doormat of the conference only four years after its most successful season in program history. I like your optimism and I'll give the team a chance of course...but I disagree that 4-8 would be seen as a success.

kycamp0 3 years, 3 months ago

I didn't know that about Ga Tech so yeah I could def see us winning that one esp with the style that Ga Tech plays. If we can stay close in some of these games we'll pull off a couple upsets so I think a 4-6 win season is a realistic expectation.

Dyrk Dugan 3 years, 3 months ago

anything above four wins would be a "success." and four wins would be a one game improvement over the previous season. a 4-8 record is not a good season...but the measuring stick has to be lowered, considering the type of transition we've gone through.

i remeber the 2004 team...we we just coming off the bowl season, but our defense wasn't very good, and Whittemore was gone. but in that first game vs. Tulsa, you could tell our defense was a LOT better...and we beat 'em 21-3. we ended up 2-6 in the league (but the Ws were KSU and MU) and 4-7 overall...but we were much more competitive in the games.

we played UT to the end (dollar signs) played NU really tough, should have beat ISU. that team passed the "eye test" in that you knew we were turning the corner to being a good football team.

Kevin Studer 3 years, 3 months ago

I want improvement. This team is not going to a bowl game.

troutsee 3 years, 3 months ago

If Webb is much improved and has a good year, look out last place prognosticaors. I think Webb is ready to play this year. If so, surprises may abound.

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